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ALP Will Oppose Budget Measures On Pensions, Youth Support, Family Tax Benefits And GP Co-Payment

Following Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s Budget Reply speech tonight, the ALP has announced that it will oppose a series of Budget measures in the Parliament.

Statements from shadow ministers Jenny Macklin, Catherine King, Brendan O’Connor and Julie Collins say that the ALP will oppose:

  • Increasing the pension age to 70.
  • Changes to pension indexation arrangements.
  • Forcing young people under 30 to wait 6 months before receiving income support.
  • Moving people under 25 from Newstart to the lower-paying Youth Allowance.
  • Cutting families off Family Tax Benefit B when their youngest child turns 6.
  • The $7 co-payment for visits to a general practitioner.

The ALP and the Greens have a blocking majority in the Senate until June 30. Neither party will oppose the Appropriation Bills, but where separate legislation is required they will have the ability to block measures.

After July 1, the ALP, Greens and the Palmer United Party group will have the numbers to block legislation in the Senate. Alternatively, either the ALP or the Greens will be able to guarantee passage of government bills. If the ALP and Greens are opposed to legislation, the government will need the support of 6 of the 8 crossbenchers.

Statement from Jenny Macklin, Shadow Minister for Families and Payments, and Disability Reform.

LABOR TO OPPOSE ABBOTT’S PENSION ATTACK

Labor will oppose Tony Abbott’s savage attack on Australia’s pension system and the millions of Australian pensioners who rely on it.

Labor will oppose Tony Abbott’s decision to increase the pension age to 70.

Increasing the pension age to 70 will unfairly hurt blue collar workers, low income workers and women.

Labor’s increase of the pension age to 67 by 2023 was supported by a comprehensive review into Australia’s pension system and a significant improvement to the base rate for the pension and improvements to indexation.

Tony Abbott has provided no evidence to support an increase in the Age Pension age to 70.

Age discrimination in the workplace in a serious problem and many older Australians already find it hard to get a job.

Increasing the Age Pension age to 70 will mean Australia has the highest pension age across the OECD.

Labor will also oppose Tony Abbott’s plans to cut the pension with lower indexation arrangements for the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carers Payment, Veterans’ Pensions, Wife and Widow Pension and Parenting Payment Single.

We will oppose this unprecedented attack on the standard of living of Australia’s 3.2 million pensioners, because Australian pensioners deserve a decent standard of living.

This is what Tony Abbott promised them before the election when he said:

“No cuts to education, no cuts to health, no change to pensions, no change to the GST and no cuts to the ABC or SBS.” – TONY ABBOTT –INTERVIEW – 6 SEPTEMBER 2013

Tony Abbott has broken this promise. Tony Abbott has betrayed Australian pensioners.

Statement from Jenny Macklin, Shadow Minister for Families and Payments; Brendan O’Connor, Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations; and Julie Collins, Shadow Minister for Employment Services.

LABOR WILL OPPOSE ABBOTT’S ATTACK ON YOUNG PEOPLE

Labor will oppose Tony Abbott’s cruel attack on young jobseekers.

Tony Abbott’s Budget means young people under 30 who are looking for a job will be forced to wait six months before receiving any income support.

And after six months on work for the dole, if young people still cannot find work, they face another six months without Newstart.

Labor will also oppose Tony Abbott’s plans to push young people under 25 from Newstart onto the lower Youth Allowance. This is a cut of at least $48 a week, or almost $2,500 a year.

“These changes will confine young people to a life of poverty. We will not support such punitive measures,” Shadow Minister for Families Jenny Macklin said.

“How does Tony Abbott expect young people to find work if they have nothing to live on?” she said “Where does he expect them to live?”

Shadow Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Brendan O’Connor said as a proportion of income, young people will pay 100 times more than high income earners as a result of Tony Abbott’s twisted priorities.

“An example of the cruelty inflicted by this Budget is that a 24-year-old living independently on Newstart will be slugged with an almost 20 per cent cut in their support, while someone on $200,000 will pay $400, a meagre 0.2 per cent reduction,” he said.

“Tony Abbott has made it crystal clear he wants vulnerable, low income earners to do the heavy lifting in this Budget.”

Shadow Employment Services Minister Julie Collins said the best way to help young people find a job was to support them through training and work experience. Cutting their income support will not help them get into work or education or training.

“Labor understands the importance of giving young people a hand up to find work, not cruelly telling young Australians: you’re on your own,” Ms Collins said.

“The Abbott Government’s so called ‘Earn or Learn’ scheme is merely a smokescreen for slashing assistance to young people.”

Statement from Jenny Macklin, Shadow Minister for Families and Payments, and Shadow Minister for Disability Reform.

LABOR WILL OPPOSE ABBOTT’S ATTACK ON AUSTRALIAN FAMILIES

Labor will oppose Tony Abbott’s plan to cut families off Family Tax Benefit B when their youngest child turns six.

Under Labor, these families received Family Tax Benefit B until their children turned 16.

This cut is an attack on single income families.

Many of these families are already struggling to make ends meet. They are already cutting back. They can’t afford Tony Abbott’s new taxes and broken promises.

In addition to having their family payments cut, families will lose their Schoolkids Bonus at the same time as they are slugged with new taxes when they visit the GP and when they fill up the car.

This budget is a major hit to family budgets.

These changes will leave a single income family with two children aged 5 and 12 years, on an income of less than $100,000 per year, worse off by up to $5,000 each year.

Labor will oppose Tony Abbott’s attempts to put more pressure on the budgets of millions of families, which will hit low income families the hardest.

Low and middle income families shouldn’t have to foot the bill for Tony Abbott’s deceit.

Statement from Catherine King, Shadow Minister for Health.

LABOR WILL FIGHT TO PROTECT MEDICARE

Labor tonight declared it will fight Tony Abbott’s attack on Medicare.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten used his Budget reply speech to announce that Labor would not stand by and let the Prime Minister’s Budget of broken promises trash the living standards of Australians.

Shadow Minister for Health Catherine King said Labor will fight to make sure Medicare remains something that belongs to all Australians.

Labor will fight Tony Abbott’s $7 GP tax.

Labor will not stand by and let Australia become a country where the old and at risk have to choose between eating or seeing the doctor.

As the party that introduced Medicare, Labor will not let Tony Abbott destroy universal healthcare in Australia.

Labor won’t let Tony Abbott destroy Medicare. We will vote against Tony Abbott’s plan to tax people when they visit the GP.

Under Tony Abbott’s plan, every time someone in the family gets sick, getting medical treatment will cost money. This assault on Medicare is an unacceptable attack on the Australian way of life.

The Abbott Government’s Budget of broken promises has betrayed Australians.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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